Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Best Poker Cheat Story of 2010

Poker Heist Suspects
Well, I'd call it poker cheating in its most devastating form. That's when poker cheats become poker thieves or robbers and just heist the poker jackpot instead of winning it.

That's exactly what happened on March 7, 2010 at a European Poker Tour tournament at the posh Hyatt Hotel in downtown Berlin, Germany. Four men wearing disguises and brandishing guns and machetes stormed into the poker room set up by the Hyatt and helped themselves to nearly $350,000 of what was to be a $1.36 Million first-prize jackpot. I don't know why they didn't get all the money in the jackpot. Maybe it wasn't on the table when they struck.

The German cops, armed with good surveillance video of the poker heist, searched the city for two weeks before one of the poker robbers panicked and gave himself up. The 21-year-old German national told the cops that he and his three cohorts split the money immediately after the heist. He also ratted out their names. This sounds like the German version of the famous/infamous USA Brinks Heist gone-wrong-after-the-succesful-robbery in the 1950s.

The three suspects on the run were identified as 20-year-old Ahmad el-Awayti, 19-year-old Jihad Chetwie, and 20-year-old and Mustafa Ucarkus. Apparently all four of these suspects were German nationals of Turkish and Arabic descent. But judging by the names, could this have been a crime to finance some act of international terrorisim? Given that it occurred in Germany, where the 9/11 attack plans originated, this possibility cannot be overlooked. In any case, the suspects were all caught and the money recovered, so whatever the poker cheat thieves were going to do with their loot is now moot, pardon the pun...or rhyme.

The first suspect told police that he had cased the Hyatt for several days before the robbery and noticed that the hotel guards did not carry weapons, and that it looked like an easy heist to pull off.

American poker pro Kevin MacPhee won the tournament and received all the first-place jackpot money thanks to the Hyatt's insurance coverage. He also told the media that there was a lot of shouting and hysteria during the robbery.

My take: I would just love to see this type of heist go down at the final table of the main event at the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas. Wow! Wouldn't that be a nice score!!!